Perspectives on Teaching Conference

PREVIOUS Conference

Fall Perspectives on Teaching

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Social Science Centre, Room 2050

Opening Remarks - 9:00 am to 9:15 am

Andrew Hrymak, Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
Nanda Dimitrov, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Keynote - 9:15 am to 10:30 am

Peter FeltenValuing Teaching: What Matters Most?

Peter Felten (Elon University)

In our book The Undergraduate Experience (Jossey-Bass, 2016), my co-authors and I identified six core themes that matter most for student success: learning, relationships, expectations, alignment, improvement, and leadership. This interactive keynote will explore why these themes are critically important not only for students but also for instructors and for institutional culture. Together we will critically consider what each of us can do, no matter what our context and role, to cultivate a generative culture of learning and teaching.

Dr. Peter Felten Biography

Dr. Peter Felten is a Professor of history, assistant provost for teaching and learning, and executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University. His books include the co-authored volumes: The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters MostTransforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher EducationEngaging Students as Partners in Learning and TeachingTransformative Conversations; and the co-edited book Intersectionality in Action. He has served as president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2016-17) and also of the POD Network (2010-2011), the U.S. professional society for educational developers. He is co-editor of the International Journal for Academic Development and a fellow of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Refreshment Break - 10:30 am to 11:00 am

Concurrent Sessions A - 11:00 am to 12:15 pm

Experiential Learning Across the Disciplines (SSC 2050)

Stephanie Hayne Beatty and Heather Wakely (Student Success Centre)
Radoslav Dimitrov (Political Science)
Sarah McLean (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry)
Neil Banerjee (Earth Sciences)

Experiential learning is an approach used to intentionally connect learners with practical learning experiences that help them deepen their disciplinary knowledge and develop transferable skills through authentic and focused reflection.  Join us to learn about the wide range of in-class and off-campus experiential learning activities used by faculty colleagues across campus, such as simulations, community engaged learning opportunities, internships, field experiences, and research or creative activities. Hear about the ways in which thoughtfully designed experiential learning opportunities allow students to clarify their interests, explore careers in their discipline, and apply what they learn throughout their degrees at Western. Consider how you can embed experiential learning in your teaching, and contribute to these outcomes for students in your discipline.

Vocal Health: Using and Protecting Our Voices (SSC 2036)

Ted Baerg (Music Performance Studies)

For many of us, our voice is the number one instrument that we use in the classroom. However, we don't always take care of our voices to avoid damage. In this session, Ted will discuss proper use of the voice and tips for protecting it. He will draw on his experience both on the stage (with international experience in acting, opera and musical theatre) and in the classroom as he guides the participants through a series of vocal exercises as well as suggestions for dealing with vocal fatigue and other related issues.

Making Learning Visible with ePortfolios (SSC 2032)

Angela Borchert (Modern Languages and Literatures)
Nicole Campbell (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry)
Aleksandra Zecevic (Health Studies)

In this panel presentation, three colleagues will share their experiences of incorporating ePortfolios into their course design and teaching. The discussion aims to provide insights for practice and highlight future aspirations – exploring opportunities and challenges, lessons learned from trial and error, common principles for teaching with ePortfolios, and future directions for ePortfolio use on campus.

Brown Bag Lunch Session - 12:45 pm to 1:15 pm

What in the World is (SSC 2028)

Dan Sich (Western Libraries) is an online learning platform that offers more than 5,000 on-demand courses to help build professional skills. Thanks to the Ontario government and eCampusOntario, all current students, staff and faculty members have free, unlimited access to until September 2020.  You are invited to bring your lunch and join Dan Sich, Teaching and Learning Librarian, E-Learning, to discuss's subject coverage, reliability, and usefulness. What opportunities might there be to use yourself or recommend it to students?  Find more information at

Concurrent Sessions B - 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Indigeneity in the Academy: Teaching and Learning at the Cultural Interface (SSC 2050)

Candace Brunette-Debassige, Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives)

Against the backdrop of growing calls to Indigenize universities, Indigenous students and curriculum are on the rise, bringing with them unique perspectives, identities and ways of knowing to the forefront. At the same time, Indigenous students continue to face many systemic barriers. This session will identify some of these systemic issues, while highlighting the university as a contact zone for the cultural interface; that is, as places wherein complex interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing, being and doing unfold. During the workshop, participants will be guided through case studies that draw from Western’s newly developed Guide for Working with Indigenous Students.

Teaching Graduate Students (SSC 2036)

Karyn Olsen (Centre for Teaching and Learning)

Join this session to discuss successful approaches to running a graduate seminar course. What is the most effective format? How do you establish learning goals? What types of activities can be integrated and which ones will have the highest impact? What can I do as the professor to best support graduate student learning? This workshop will answer these questions by drawing on faculty experiences and evidence-based practices found in the teaching and learning literature. Karyn will also share comments from Western graduate students on what works (and what does not) when it comes to graduate coursework.

Getting Awesome: Empowering Learners Using Powtoon Video Creation (SSC 2032)

Ana Garcia-Allen (Modern Languages and Literatures)
Jane Winkler (WTS - eLearning Technologies)

In this session we will describe the design and production of a series of short videos using Powtoon.  The purpose of these videos is to empower students in the language classroom. While our videos were created specifically for Spanish language learners, the approach is transferable to any other subject. The videos introduce students to all the tools they need to successfully learn the target language, and most importantly, to learn in the best possible way.  We will also describe the collaborative project between the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the ITRC for the video creation process.

Refreshment Break - 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm

Concurrent Sessions C - 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Engaging Students in Lecture Classes (SSC 2050)

Moderator: Michael Atkinson (Psychology)

Panelists: Rob Cockcroft (Physics and Astronomy/Western’s Integrated Science Program), M. J. Kidnie (English), Nigmendra Narain (Political Science)

Lecturing is one of the oldest, and likely still the most commonly used, of the teaching methods. Although research suggests that lecturing may not always be the best teaching method for student learning, it has definite advantages. Please join us for this interactive session, in which our panelists will explain what they do to engage their students when lecturing, as well as describe the preparation required, the challenges raised, and the impact on student learning. Please bring your questions and a willingness to share what you do to engage your students when lecturing.

Lessons from Early Adopters: Digital Badging at Western (SSC 2036)

Aaron Price (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
Tom Rochfort (Ivey Business School)
Tanya Filipcic (Continuing Studies)
Julie Kaiser (School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies)
Beth Hundey (Centre for Teaching and Learning)

Hear from Western faculty and staff who have used digital badges to recognize learner achievement in credit, non-credit and professional development initiatives. Digital badges—a representation of a skill, learning achievements or experience—are created, awarded and shared online. Western faculty and staff have been piloting different use cases for digital badges, with the Centre for Teaching and Learning coordinating a funded pilot of a badging platform. While a promising model for recognizing and communicating outcomes of learning, badging is still in its infancy. This session promises to share lessons about what has (and has not) worked in these early trials.


Conference Information


Registration Instructions

  1. Login to CareerCentral using your Western username and password.
  2. Go to the Conference page and select the sessions you wish to attend
  3. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account. 

If you have any questions or problems registering for an event, please contact


This event is open to all; however, it is designed with instructors in mind.

Offered annually

  • Fall Perspectives -  end of August
  • Spring Perspectives - beginning of May
    • Call for proposals announced  - December
    • Proposals due - February


Applies to following certificates

Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning

What to Expect

Offered twice a year, Perspectives on Teaching is a full-day conference designed to showcase teaching innovations at Western, and introduce instructors to best practices in student-centered instruction which can enhance the student experience. Approximately 300 faculty, graduate student instructors and staff participate in each Perspectives on Teaching conference. The conference program typically includes a keynote address and 6-9 concurrent sessions.

Faculty members are invited to present innovative teaching approaches or research on their teaching during Spring Perspectives each year.  The call for proposals is typically announced in December.

Previous Conference Programs

Visit our Youtube Channel for video clips from past conferences.


"Garfield Gini-Newman's talk was fantastic. There were so many gems in it, that I'm planning on watching it again, when it is posted online. My take-away from the talk was the idea of making assessment transparent and placing it at the beginning of a lesson.  The second thing that I learned from him was the idea of creating critical thinking opportunities throughout- even in giant lectures- by problematising almost any topic. Loved this talk."
(Fall Perspectives, 2017 - Keynote by Garfield Gini-Newman, University of Toronto, on Teaching Critical Thinking)

"The keynote speaker addressed a topic that is highly relevant to all university educators. He provided a clear definition of critical thinking as well as many very practical examples and suggestions for implementation. I think the key was how practical it was -- I could easily imagine implementing strategies he suggested in my courses, and had several ideas for how to use the information in my courses during the talk.  
(Fall Perspectives, 2017 - Keynote by Garfield Gini-Newman, University of Toronto, on Teaching Critical Thinking)

"I was most captivated by the notion of "method knowledge" vs. "content knowledge" and was challenged to envision how that could be better incorporated in my own teaching. Being a part-time faculty member, I rarely have time to evaluate my 'pedagogy'; it was a great time to reflect, and be spurred into action!"
(Spring Perspectives, 2017 - Dr.Nancy Chick, University of Calgary, on Signature Pedagogies)

- "What I enjoyed the most about Dr. Chick's discussion was all the definitions of 'knowledge' and understanding the levels of knowledge. Understanding how different disciplines approach teaching allowed me to reflect on how my own discipline has a prescribed set of ideologies around teaching - especially within the foundational courses."
(Spring Perspectives, 2017 - Dr.Nancy Chick, University of Calgary, on Signature Pedagogies)